Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

8th Annual Users Choice Awards from GenSoftReviews

As noted in the announcement which I received by email, is the site users go to rate and review their genealogy software and to find out about other genealogy software to try. The site lists 980 programs, and users have contributed over 4,300 ratings and reviews.

This is the 8th year has announced its User Choice Awards. The winners for 2016 were based on 750 submitted reviews during the year. To earn the Award, the programs had to have a minimum of 10 reviews with at least one review in calendar year 2016. 27 programs had a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5.00.

The winners from the announcement are:
  • 17 Windows programs: Family Book Creator, GenSmarts, Aldfaer, Ahnenblatt, Brother’s Keeper, Family Historian, Ancestral Quest, Personal Ancestral File, Ages!, Clooz, RootsMagic, Generations, Relatively Yours, Family Tree Builder, Family Tree Maker (up to Version 16), Heredis for PC, and The Master Genealogist
  • 2 Mac programs: iFamily for Mac, and Reunion
  • 3 programs built for Windows, Mac and Unix: Evidentia, Familienbande, and GenealogyJ
  • 5 Online programs: Famberry, Genealogie Online, The Next Generation, webtrees, and MyHeritage
  • 0 Handheld programs.
Here are some additional details. 
The top program for 2016 was Family Book Creator, by Stefan Harms, a plugin for Family Tree Maker that lets you create a family book from your Family Tree Maker database. Family Book Creator received a perfect rating of 5.00 out of 5 based on 16 user reviews. Second was Evidentia, a source-centric genealogy tool by Ed Thompson, that ended the year with a weighted user rating of 4.97 out of 5 based on 13 reviews. Third was GenSmarts, a program by Underwood Innovations to help you do your genealogical research. GenSmarts scored 4.97 out of 5 on 15 reviews. 
Eight programs won their first Users Choice Award: Family Book Creator, Aldfaer, Ages!, Generations, Relatively Yours, Heredis for PC, GenealogyJ, and The Master Genealogist.

Two former winners returned to the winner’s circle this year: GenSmarts and iFamilyforMac, who did not have a review and were not eligible in 2015.
Programs that dropped off the list from 2015 include Ultimate Family Tree and Heredis for iOS, that slipped just under the 4.00 criteria, and Heredis for Mac that did not receive a review in 2016. 
Six programs have won a Users Choice Award all 8 years since the award was established in 2009. They are The Next Generation, Brother’s Keeper, Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic, Reunion, and Family Tree Builder. 
Five programs that are no longer supported were still liked enough by their users to win a 2016 award: Personal Ancestral File, Generations, Relatively Yours, Family Tree Maker (up to Version 16) and The Master Genealogist. For three of these, Generations, Relatively Yours, and The Master Genealogist, this is their first Users Choice Award. 
GenSoftReviews uses a time-weighted average score. The weight of every user rating goes down 50% every year, so newer opinions are better reflected in the average score.
Please note that genealogists continue to use and give good reviews to programs that are no longer supported. In these particular cases, I would suggest that a good review should certainly be tempered by the fact that the program may not continue to function with your subsequent computer or operating system upgrades. I value my data too much to trust it to a discontinued program. In fact, I constantly upgrade programs and operating systems as well as my computers. If a program cannot be upgraded, I immediately begin moving my data to a new program.

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